Home > Kahindik-hindik, mindscape landmark, noynoy aquino, noynoy aquino kahindik-hindik, philippine media > the police should set guidelines for hostage taking coverage, not media

the police should set guidelines for hostage taking coverage, not media

Palace wants media to have own guidelines on hostage crisis coverage

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang wants media to lay down their own guidelines on covering hostage crises instead of having the government impose prior restraint.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said media should know how to avoid endangering the safety of hostages.

“Our stand is that we should not restrain freedom of expression,” he said.

“We should keep in mind that we fought for freedom for us to express what’s on our minds in this country.”

Coloma said media practitioners should evaluate their coverage during Monday’s hostage crisis at Rizal Park in Manila where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.

source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=606530&publicationSubCategoryId=63

‘Media, not gov’t, should set coverage guidelines’

MANILA, Philippines – It is the media, not the government or the police, which should establish the guidelines on coverage of life-threatening incidents such as hostage-taking, an expert has advised.

“You never want to interfere with covering. But when you come up with voluntary guidelines that people agreed to and try honestly to adhere to, it’s much better than having a government say these are the guidelines, this is how you behave, this is what you do–that really becomes quite onerous,” said Bob Dietz, Program Coordinator for Asia of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), told ANC’s Top Story on Thursday.

The hostage drama started when dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza hijacked a bus full of tourists in Manila in an attempt to get his job back.

Local and foreign journalists flocked to the Quirino Grandstand to cover the incident. Some were criticized for delivering the critical moments of the crisis.

“When we’re in a middle of a news coverage situation, we’re really going for the best that we can get, especially the people on the street–the cameramen, the producers, the soundmen at that level,” Dietz said.

Dietz, however, pointed out that people back in the newsroom should be the one to decide when to call the shots.

“What has to happen is back here, where there are cooler heads in the newsroom, sort of saying ‘that’s too much’, ‘let’s pull this back’, ‘get these people out of that position’,” Dietz said.


we think it is wrong that the government is asking media to set its own guidelines on media coverage of hostage crisis situations.

a hostage taking  is a matter of security and safety, it is a police and law enforcement matter, why is media being asked to develop the guidelines?  that is the reason why the police or the military is given the responsibility and the power to take over the whole situation for  resolution. among all government agencies, they are also the only group who has the arms, the technical skills and experience in resolving such matters peacefully. in other words, they are the ones who know what is needed and what is not needed to succeed in the resolution of the hostage taking situation.

media does not know anything about  such things, what media knows is how to set up the camera to get the best shot, what to say to the audience during the coverage to sustain interest and viewership to their media channel. what they were trained for is how to get the best camera shot possible for great tv or radio. their work  mostly has nothing to do with safety and security.

it does not make sense that the government is asking  media to develop the guidelines on matter they know nothing about.

the guidelines are meant to make sure the police has free and unhampered reign on the whole situation to be able to satisfactorily resolve the hostage crisis. the guidelines are there for the objective of the police successfully achieving their goal, not for media to do it’s job best. the goals of successfully resolving the hostage crisis and getting the best tv shot are separate and distinct, performed by two very different groups with one, the media  negatively affecting the other if they make a mistake.

the guidelines should come from the police, not the media. the police should develop guidelines just like the way they ask the government for new equipment, tools and training to help them become better at what they do and to succeed at achieving their goals.  the media guidelines is exactly the same thing as the police setting up a perimeter around the area where  the hostage taking is to prevent everyone else from interfering with their work.

one of the top key things the police want is control of the situation and that includes media coverage as that affects the hostage taker, the family and co-conspirators of the hostage taker, copycats and the public.

the thinking behind the malacanang direction is on the wrong places and comes from the wrong perspective. hostage talking guidelines is not about good media relations, it is about life and death.  media’s failure only results to lower tv ratings while the failure of the police results to death. there is no comparison at all.

we think malacanang’s media group, one secretary of whom used to work for abs-cbn,  is being given too much voice on this matter. it is all wrong.

~~mindscape landmark~~
carlo p arvisu

    September 1, 2010 at 11:19 am

    The article is 100 % correct and understood the incident command system. The only person with absolute authority during an emergency incident is the ground or incident commander. He has final authority on the media logistics and operations because he is the only person with authority to make decisions based on what he sees smells and hear. He must be the person with the best judgment to make on the spot decisions.. Once he fails, everything fails. Only the the crisis committee can override and replace him if he fails in his job.

  2. joseph
    September 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm
  3. joseph
    September 5, 2010 at 12:25 am

    When you were inaugurated as my country’s president, you said:

    KAYO PO ANG BOSS KO. (You are my boss.)

    With barely three months in service, you have showed me a very dismal performance. I am disappointed.

    I never liked you. I never wanted you to become president. In fact, to vote for you never became a choice. But what is more hateful at this point is that you are giving me all the reasons why I should not regret not liking you, not wanting you to become president, and not voting for you.

    Personally, I do not think that I should expect a lot from you since you do not owe me a vote. And hence you can count my criticism and satisfaction as dispensable. But how about the 15 million others? Are theirs as dispensable as mine?

    I have a lot of questions. And as your boss, I demand you to answer them. No smirking and no stupid excuses. Just clear-cut answers.


    Why did you not save that bus full of innocent lives when you have all the power in your disposition to do so? Where were your high officials who could have dealt with the situation, if you think you could not? You have served the Committee of Public Order and Safety during the time you were in Congress. [Did you even serve it at all?] Then why did I not see neither public order nor safety last Monday?

    Why did you not censor the media when you thought in the first place that it needs control? Press freedom, I get that. Eight innocent lives, how do you actually explain?


    Where were you? If you say you were in a closed-door meeting, why did you take so long? If that meeting was really about the situation, why did it still end in that tragic accident? While your presence does not necessarily guarantee the resolution of the ordeal, your absence was definitely no help either, if it had not made the matters worse.

    But whether your presence could have made the matter the same or better, one point is clear. Your participation in that drama could have made a different ending. Possibly even better.



    Why did you let the rampage result in a bloodbath of 8 Chinese nationals? Are they dispensable to you because you did not get votes from them? Which puts me into thinking, if you can live not giving the good service deserved of those who voted for you, all the more can you ignore those who did not. So can you definitely ignore those who never will.

    When you were inaugurated, together with 80 other countries, China’s delegation was be led by National People’s Congress Vice Chairman Yan Junqi. Now tell me, can you still say that you were worthy of attention? If you have been indifferent to a country as big as China, how about the 80 others?


    Why did you not take HK CE Donald Tsang’s call? What is too difficult in answering a mobile phone and saying “Hey you’re people are held hostages in a bus and are about to die but I think it is not until I let my incompetent policemen storm it so you can sit back, relax, and let the rampage unfold in your TV screen, REAL-TIME.” Or at the very least, what is too difficult in ordering one of your pawns in your chessboard to send the message across? Not having to wait for them to find out from your nosy media men who reported things blow-by-blow and who, if any, share the blame.

    At close to midnight, you acted. You showed yourself in front of the whole Philippines and the world and excused your incapable police. Lack of guns. Lack of tactics. But you did not admit your lack of action. On August 24, you declared the next day [August 25] as National Day of Mourning. Why only then? Because HK had already done theirs? To show that “at least” we did?


    You said you were sorry for what have happened. But what made the matter resort to the worst scenario in the first place? Was it not partly your fatal incapability to delegate your people and employ your powers as president? With some smirks, one and two, you said that you are sorry for what happened. But where was sincerity? Did it hide behind your smiles? Because it was never heard in your messages. Not even in your actions.

    You made yourself look like a fool in public. You made your people look like fools. Now we are the laughing stock of the world. They have called us monkeys, they have called us subservient dogs. But all you do is to give them reasons to continue doing so. All you do is to prove them that by being a president, we really are but monkeys and subservient dogs. When I was in the university, I came to know who Plato is. Do you know him? Did you know him? He said:

    Justice means keeping a just order. Everybody should do what he does best and stay out of everybody else’s business. If every citizen does what he is assigned to do, not because he is ordered to do it, but because he enjoys doing it, justice will reign. Citizens won’t harm each other and the state will flourish because, on the one hand, justice leads to harmony and unity, while injustice, on the other hand, leads to sedition and revolution.


    Have you been giving us the justice that we deserve? Are you doing what you do best and staying out of everybody else’s business? Are you doing your job as a president not because you are ordered to do it but because you enjoy doing it? If so, then why are people harming each other and the state is not flourishing? Why is there no justice and unity? Are we leading to sedition and revolution?

    Do not get me wrong. I love you as a person (read: I love all persons) because I have been taught to love and not to hate. But to love you as a president is something that is difficult for me to do. I love you as a person so I want you to do something that you do best, something that you will enjoy doing. And being president, it seems, is not what it is.

    Do not get me wrong. I love my country (read: I love all countries) because I have been taught to love my family and my neighbors. But to love my country with you heading it is something that is difficult for me to do. I love my country that is why I am doing this, I am saving it at least its face if there is even something left for me to save. I am starting to fear that the day might come when the only reason why I love my country is because this is my country and nothing else.

    When you were elected, let me just remind you, you embodied hope. With and from the 7,107 islands of this archipelago, you embodied unity. And that is why 15 million voted for you. Have they voted wrongly? Or have the 20 million others who did not choose you voted rightly? Only you can say. But we need not another word from you, we need a lot of [pragmatic] actions.

    My last request: Use your position wisely. With that, I mean you should do action equipped with the deepest understanding of things. It is because when you do not understand what you are doing that things go astray. If you have to take extra time for that, then do so. Why should not you? You are the person tasked to do that. As how we have expected the policemen to do police work because that is what they have been assigned to do.

    Let not our 7,107 islands remain a mere archipelagic territory they call monkey country. Make it a human nation. Let not our 90 million citizens remain subservient citizens. Make them proud and dignified nationals.

    Never settle for what is “least” and never excuse yourself by saying “we cannot do anything anymore”. A lot of us are already contemplating on our being Filipino. Please be reminded that in order for us to live, we need not only the basic food, clothing, shelter, and water. We also need our dignity and sense of being people. Unite us. After all, that was the only thing that I know you promised to do.

    I never liked you. I never wanted you to become president. In fact, to vote for you never became a choice. But please, prove me, and 20 million others, wrong. Why? Kasi KAMI ANG BOSS MO (We are your boss).

    With all due respect.


  4. miley
    April 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

    hay naku pilipino nga naman mapagdikta kayo! kayo n sana a ang naging presidente. . . .sabagay cancer na ng mga pilipino yan..plaging tumitingin sa negative side! puro kayo reklamo kaya hindi umaasenso ang pilipinas dahil sa mga attitude ninyo kaya ikaw kung sino k man inbes n puro k comment bat d ka kaya n lng 2mulong. . .kung ano ung kamali dun nyo n lng tinitira. .napakababaw yang mga isip nyo. . sabagay dyan nman tayo magaling eh sinisisi ntin ang isa. . .wala nman kayong naiitulong. . .buwisit kayo!

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